I don’t know, I guess when I picked up Kings and Queens of England by Richard Hampton and David Weston, I was expecting more. More detail, more history…just more.
This book starts with William the Conqueror back in 1066 and moves through the kings and queens of England—even the short-lived ones (literally: Jane Grey—until Elizabeth the II.
My first complaint about this book is the length. It’s too short to give any real detail. While it does include something on every king and queen, sometimes the descriptions are strangely lengthy when it comes to the lesser known royals, and scanty when it comes to the better known royals (such as Henry VIII). I liked the information and the interesting anecdotes on these amorphous historical figures that stand in the shadows of the stronger personalities, but details about the others hardly had to be truncated.
My second complaint was the heresy that was cited as fact. Information about King Richard the Lionheart and his brother, King John, was often opposite of what I’d heard from different sources. The fact is, there are several opinions on these two figures ranging from heroic to villainous. Saying that King John was misunderstood, for instance, is not fact; it shouldn’t read like it is.
The episodic feel of this book, the dearth of information and one-sided literary illustrations, were a disappointment. However, I did like the blurbs about each of the kings and queens; it gave me a good overall picture of the English monarchy, the shift of the monarchy through the centuries, and some of the individual personalities. If you want a brief overview, then this is a good place to start. If you want to delve a little deeper (and a little more accurately), then you might have to find another source of information.
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